When Lovebox drunkenly stumbles into view each July, we stick ourselves in an air conditioned room in the Noisey.com office and think: what can we say about this festival that hasn’t been said already? There’s the fact it’s in a park in London, which is good, because that luscious stretch of green land is within walking distance of our workplace. The bookers always manage to pull off a blinding line up, with a rare act or two, like this year’s performances from LCD Soundsystem and Major Lazer. Mostly though, the conversation always centres on the fundamental component that lies deep at the core of Lovebox: lots of people having fun.
The word "fun" contains multitudes. It's how we describe something that is good. It's used by parents to dupe children into arid trips in a sticky and hot car. It's how Snickers describe smaller versions of Snickers, which are, therefore, inherently less fun. It's how people describe a movie that had absolutely no plot or worthwhile script, but good CGI and fight scenes. But at Lovebox, it’s also simple shorthand for all that lies between a shirtless man spinning a jumper round his head like a energy-claiming wind turbine when Diplo drops “Lean On”, and a barely drinking age teenager gasping for air between retching up torrents of violently coloured sick. And nobody knows fun at Lovebox quite like every single friendship group's elected "fun guy".
In case you’re not sure what the characteristics of a fun guy are or who he is in your friendship group, he is the one for whom the essence of the evening is channeled through. The one you inevitably lose for four hours, but who will always come stumbling back with a litany of new friends and an entire round of drinks. Without him, there is an unspoken void, where fun and its extended family are supposed to go. He is deeply uncool, but also the life that is unconsentingly breathed into the party.
So, we decided to go out into Lovebox 2016 in search of the "fun guys", observe them in their natural habitat, and find out why they always seem to be having the "most awesome" night of their lives. So, take heed, and see how to become or not to become the "fun guy". Hold on to your hat and lace up your boots.
Who is the fun guy here?
We haven’t got one, we’re all pricks.
You’re lying. You look like the fun guy [pointing at the guy in the middle].
I’m the daddy. These are my children.
Alright, well… how do you have fun at a festival?
Get your cock out, pretend it’s a helicopter, and take off somewhere else.
Where are you boys from?
We’re local lads, from Mile End. We know people, who know people, who got us in for fuck all. How about that?
What’s your mission?
My mission today is to pull a fella and kick his backdoors in. How about that? I’m not into ladies I’m into men. Homosexual that’s what I am. Are you up for it?
Maybe later? Can I grab a picture to remember your face?
How are you having so much fun?
I’ll repeat myself – how are you having so much fun?
Oh! I don’t know, just listening to the tunes, chilling out, drinking, the weather is great. It’s not very loud though.
Are you a fan of Stormzy?
A little bit, yeah.
What’s your favourite song by him?
“That’s Not Me”, that’s the one he came up with innit? Fuck it’s not even him is it.
Everything shuts down at 11pm. How do we have fun after that?
Go to an afterparty. Get really pissed before you come in. That’s the main thing. I don’t know. Just don’t look for people or waste too much time looking for people. Just get involved.
[To the man on the left] Hey fun guy. What’s going on?
Uh… beers and Stormzy.
Can you rap one of his songs for me?
I can but not while you’re recording.
What’s your advice for having fun at a festival?
Bring your wingman with you. Have a couple of beers before you come out, make sure there’s a DJ or an MC or someone you wanna hear onstage, and the rest takes care of itself.
Beers and DJs – that’s it?
Beers and good vibes.
What do you do when you’re inside of those vibes?
Drink some booze and keep it going.
Fun guy in the hat! Fun guy in the hat! How do we become you? Is a hat all you need?
You just have to try and pay for your friends.
That sounds like a dark situation, to be honest. Why do you have to pay for friends?
Cause that’s how it works. Nobody makes friends organically anymore.
So you pay for their ticket? Their alcohol? Their drugs?
No, I’m paying for friends. Literal friends. Not even drugs or tickets, but friends.
How does the hat contribute?
I had to pay for that as well, it’s all rental.
Does a hat get you more friends?
Yeah, absolutely. It’s cost me a lot of money to get that as well.
What extra percentage of friends has the hat brought you?
And on a level of fun, how much fun are you having?
2/10. It was one and a half until I met her [points to friend].
So, basically. The hat is the only reason you’re enjoying yourself. You’re one of those guys.
How will you attain a 10/10 day?
Never gonna get ten. Tens don’t exist. You and I both know tens don’t exist.
Eights exist, though.
No they don’t, not really. You’ve gotta hover between a two and a four, then you’re always pleasantly surprised.
Excuse me, but can I ask you something quickly. Are you having fun?
No, fuck off.
Alright Narstie, mate. What’s up? I’m feeling lost. Someone was just mean to me. How can I be like you?
Just be free.
Yeah. Enjoy yourself. But respect your warrior.
Respect your warrior?
Warrior. Warrior! [Chorus of warrior starts up in the background]
How do I respect my warrior?
Your inner warrior. Otherwise you’re going to leave with too much shame.
For any artists out there, how should they go about having fun while on stage?
Smoke weed, drink hella drink.
What weed are you smoking on right now?
It’s fucking tropical.
Hiya! Sorry - quick q: how can I be having as much fun as it looks like you’re having right now?
Drink weed? I’ve never heard of that approach before.
You can drink it.
Boil the ganja leaf, then you make the ting cool down then you add milk and sugar and drink the tea.
Does that get you higher than if you smoke it?
Well it depends on the individual innit. You have to try it and then come and tell me. Hold up, hold up, can you hear this rhythm? Can you hear the rhythm?
Yes [“Functions On The Low” starts to trail into earshot].
Shut up then, innit!
What’s your name?
Rasta man. Can I borrow a rizla?
Are you enjoying the festival?
I’m loving it.
This is what it’s about. Real black people listening to black music, vibing with every other nationality. If you have respect, then we’re cool. If you don’t have respect, then fuck off. You man are cool.
I'm cool, but am I fun?
[Rasta Man walks away.]
You can find Ryan on Twitter